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PT 2332.K92 1884 



Last days of Heinrich Heine. 




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THE LAST DAYS OF 

HEINRICH HEINE. 



THE LAST DAYS OF 

HEINRICH HEINE. 



CAMILLE I.ELDEN. 



TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH 

BY 

CLARE BRUNE. 



LONDON: 

REMINGTON & CO, PUBLISHERS, 

1 8, HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN, W.C. 

.A1884. 
s 







PRINTED BY 

John Avery & Co., 

ABERDEEN. 



PREFACE. 



BECAME acquainted with Heinrich Heine 
towards the close of his life. His poems 
and writings were familiar to me many years 
previous to my meeting him for the first time 
face to face. 

" I arrived from Vienna, bringing with me a 
small parcel, containing a few sheets of music 
sent by one of his admirers. 

" To ensure safe delivery, I carried it myself to 
his abode, and, after handing it to the servant, 
was turning away, when a sharp ring resounded 
from the adjoining room. The domestic answered 
it, and I was startled by hearing a somewhat 
imperious voice forbidding my departure. A door 



PREFACE. 



opened and I entered a very dark room, where I 
stumbled against a screen covered with coloured 
paper in imitation of lacker. Behind this screen 
a man, sick and half blind, lay stretched upon a 
low couch ; though no longer young, he still 
appeared so, and his face bore traces of former 
beauty;' Imagine, if you can, the smile of Mephi- 
stopheles passing over the face of Christ — Christ 
draining the dregs of the chalice. The invalid 
raised himself on his pillows and held out his 
hand, saying it gratified him to converse with 
anybody arriving from ' yonder.' A sigh accom- 
panied this touching ' yonder,' which was breathed 
from his lips, like the echo of a distant and well- 
known melody. Friendship progresses rapidly 
when begun beside a sick couch and in the 
proximity of death. When I left, he gave me a 
book and begged me to visit him again. I 



PREFACE. Ill 

thought it was a mere polite formula, and kept 
away, fearing to disturb the invalid. He wrote 
me a scolding letter. The reproof both touched 
and flattered me, and my visits henceforth ceased 
only on the sad February morning when we 
accompanied him to his last home ! " 

The above few lines, whilst explaining how I 
first knew Heinrich Heine, serve as an introduction 
to a sketch depicting the last days of his life. When 
more than fifteen years ago this fragment appeared 
in the "Revue Nationale," I did not intend using 
the manuscripts, the translation of which forms 
the principal interest of this book. Youth has 
its reservations and egoisms, which middle-age 
condemns. Now that time and circumstances 
have modified my ideas and cancelled my scruples, 
I consider that I no longer possess any right 
to withhold certain writings, which, although 



IV PREFACE. 



addressed to me, form none the less part of 
Heinrich Heine's works, and may, by completing 
the story of his life, increase the poet's fame. 




THE LAST DAYS OF 

HEINRICH HEINE. 



s^-e-!! 




^HETHER it arose from a disregard of 
mere outward show, or rather from 
poverty overshadowing the household and neces- 
sitating strict economy, I know not ; but certain 
it was, that at a period of "curios," when every 
artist arranged his home with due regard to 
comfort, if not to elegance, the poet's dwelling 
resembled third-rate furnished lodgings. Not a 
trace of good taste, no attempt even at comfort — 
a medley of furniture and articles recalling the 
barbarous fancy of that degenerate epoch when 

B 



THE LAST DAYS OF 



mahogany was in vogue, and white-wood was 
relegated to the lumber-room. 

When I first saw Heinrich Heine, he lived 
on the fifth floor of a house situated in the 
Avenue Matignon, not far from the Rond-Point 
of the Champs Elys^es. His windows, overlooking 
the Avenue, opened . on to a narrow balcony, 
covered in hot weather with a striped linen 
awning, such as appear in front of small cafh. 
The apartments consisted of three or four rooms 
— the dining-room and two rooms used by the 
master and the mistress of the house. A very 
low couch, behind a screen encased in wall-paper, 
several chairs, and opposite the door a walnut- 
wood secretary, formed the entire furniture of the 
invalid's chamber. I nearly forgot to mention , 
two framed engravings, dating from the early years 
of Louis Philippe's reign — the " Reapers " and the 



HEINRICH HEINE. 



"Fisherman," after Leopold Robert. So far the 
arrangements of the rooms evidenced no trace of 
a woman's presence, which showed itself in the 
adjoining chamber by a display of imitation lace, 
lined with transparent yellow muslin, and corner- 
cupboards covered with brown velvet, and more 
especially by a full-length . portrait, placed in a 
good light, of Mrs. Heine, with dress and hair as 
worn in her youth — a low-necked black bodice, 
and bands of hair plastered down her cheeks — a 
style in the fashion of about 1840. 



II. 

^^^HE by no means realised my ideal Mrs. 
^^&|! Heine. I had fancied her refined, elegant, 
languishing, with a pale, earnest face, animated 
by large, perfidious velvety eyes. I saw, instead, 



THE LAST DAYS OF 



a homely, dark stout lady, with a high colour, 
and a jovial countenance, a person of whom you 
would say she required plenty of exercise in the 
open air. What a painful contrast between this 
robust woman and the pale dying man, who, 
with one foot already in the grave, summoned 
sufficient energy to earn not only enough for the 
daily bread, but money besides to purchase 
beautiful dresses. The melancholy jests, which 
obliging biographers constantly represent as flashes 
of wit from a husband too much in love, not to 
be profuse, never deluded anybody who visited 
that home. It is absurd to transform Mrs. Heine 
into an idyllic character, whilst the poet himself 
never dreamed of representing her in that guise, 
Why poetise at the expense of truth ? especially 
when truth brings more honour to the poet's 
memory. 



HEINRICH HEINE. 




III. 

|HATEVER may have been said to the 
contrary, he never showed himself 
selfish to any one. He was not to be believed 
when, assuming a Mephistophelian character, he 
broke forth into abuse of love and virtue. His 
mind, which people are pleased, and sometimes 
with truth, to decsribe as depraved, often revealed 
a refinement of feeling unknown to any poets 
deemed virtuous, and I doubt if even Schiller 
wrote anything more touching than the eight 
following lines — 

"Emblem of a lovely flower, 

So fair, so pure, so graceful art thou ! 
Silent I gaze and own thy power. 

Thy presence brings me sadness now, 
I feel the need to spread my hands 

And o'er thy head a blessing call 
From heaven, which eternal stands, 

And shields the pure from sudden fall." 



THE LAST DAYS OF 



One can well understand the author of the 
above, whilst suffering agony, composing merry 
letters to comfort his infirm and aged mother; 
but one can also believe him capable of bitter 
raillery against those who, whilst pretending to 
like him, sought only to ira^t)^e upon him. 
The following trait describes the degree of dis- 
interestedness he attributed to servants supposed to 
be faithful. It happened about New-year's day 
that I praised the assiduous attentions of Catherine, 
one of the two servants, who acted as his nurse, 
and never left off the ^" serre-tete'" with which 
she probably sat as the model of "Dame Mis- 
fortune " — 

"You forget," said Heine, "that this is New- 
year's week — that means the season of gratitude 



1 A bandana handkerchief tied round the head and fastenei 
with a knot. 



HEINRICH HEINE. 



Three days before and three days after the first 
of January. Sum-total, six days' consideration. 
Now do not run away with the idea that every 
servant is brutal and incapable of good feeling!" 



IV. 

^I^^ESIDES Catherine, the nurse with the 
^^^ " serre-tite" there was lame Pauline, a 
kind of friend, who filled the offices of com- 
panion and lady's maid; in fact, acted as a maid 
of all work. The intimates of the family — I will 
not say the "rest of the domesticity" — consisted 
of a secretary, a Saxon of good family, who had 
been implicated in the political events of 1849, 
and an old half-paralysed Jew who called himself 
Doctor Loeueve, living on the poet's bounty, and 



THE LAST DAYS OF 



entrusted by him with the management of th( 
small system of secret police which he fanciec 
he was bound to maintain. 

The unremunerated visitors were nearly all ol 
the same stamp — relics of the past, waifs oi 
politics or love, members of that somewhat 
shady society which Heine wittily styled " Lt 
demi-monde princier." The Princess Belgiojoso 
just returned from Broussa, visited the peel 
occasionally to complain of her sufferings from a 
ruined digestion which obliged her to partake 
only of iced food at midnight ; the Princess 

W , another wreck, from Weimar, redolent 

of tobacco, arrived, her hands full of small 
pamphlets in praise of the god of her adoration, 
who allowed her to have her own way. 

I remember meeting besides, in that house 
two women of the same time and the same set 



HEINRICH HEINE. 



one of whom, an Englishwoman, Heine pointed 
out to me as the original of " Lady Matilda " in 
the " Reisebilder" and also the famous "God- 
mother '' of " U enfant du siecle]' the chosen 
confidant of the lovers in her social circle, tiny 
Madame Jaubert, a diminutive woman, neat, well- 
gloved, and carrying a little umbrella which 
became in her small fingers an insignia, and 
made her resemble the symbol of " Genteel 
Comedy" under Louis Philippe. 



V. 

DWELLING, as well as its visitors, 
always bears an original and significant 
stamp. For me, all the poet's youth was 
mirrored in the wretchedness of his last days. 




lO THE LAST DAYS OF 

They betrayed traces of an .unhealthy past, 
and a certain indescribable aroma of format 
Bohemianism, which recalled, at the same time, 
the laughter of grisettes and the exploits of 
pianists. Montmorency and the Conservatoire, 
the Gothic prie-dieu of the Princess Belgiojoso, 
and the policeman charged with moderating the 
antics of the fantastic ballet-dancers, whose 
leaders were called '^ Rose Pompon'' and the 
" Queen Pomarif.'' 

There is no doubt that the Bohemian often 
appears in the artist, but if the latter means to 
succeed in life, he ought to know how to assume 
and to abandon at will the role of the former. 
He ought especially to understand how to leave 
it at the door, when he comes home. 

Customs are changed since Heine's time, 
and nobody knows better than the artists 



HEINRICH HEINE. II 

of to-day how to assume the airs of respec- 
tability. 

Probably Heine never knew the meaning we 
give to that word, and whatever they may say to 
the contrary, he remained quite ingenuously 
German, beneath the Voltairian disguise the 
French choose to ascribe to him. Not only had 
he fallen into all the sentimental absurdities of 
Louis Philippe's reign, but he even exaggerated 
them. 

In spite of his objection to Musset, he at first 
took the character of "Jenny I'ouvriere" in 
earnest, he humbled himself before some titled 
humbug, confused great passions with small 
dissipations, and gave proof of his mistakes in 
some letters in which, believing he was sketching 
a spirited caricature, he painted a genre picture, 
which brings before us a man, already famous. 



12 THE LAST DAYS OF 

busy writing copy beside a woman mending 
shirts. 

I have unfortunately every reason to believe 
that the poet had grown wiser when chance 
brought us together. 

My somewhat cosmopolitan education and 
much travel had prepared me for this meeting. 

Heine's poems formed the favourite study of 
my youth. I read his works in choice tomes 
given me by my mother. Thanks to Heinrich 
Heine's splendid descriptions, Nature seemed 
transformed for me into a terrestrial Paradise. 

The poet's roughness did not alarm me. I 
liked him all the better for being decried. I 
felt, whilst defending him, that I was, in a 
way, defending myself; and, whilst entering the 
lists for my favourite poet, I prepared my own 
defence for the day, when I, like him, should 



HEINRICH HEINE. 1 3 

have to strive against the wickedness and folly 
of the world. 

My profound admiration for the author of the 
"Book of Songs" could not fail to render him 
congenial to me, and, if I am not mistaken, he 
loved me especially on account of a certain 
similarity which he fancied to exist between us. 

The horror of routine, of ugliness, of vulgarity, 
the hatred of expediency, the contempt for 
bombast, as well as for empty sentiments and 
phrases, before, and above all, an exceeding love 
of imagination, a fanatical adoration of the 
beautiful had revealed to him, in me, proofs of an 
independent spirit. He was pleased with me for 
not being common-place, and delighted in telling 
me so. 

"Our minds," said he, "are akin, and that is 
why I need conceal nothing from you ! " 




14 THE LAST DAYS OF 

VI. 

^HE first letter he wrote to me proves 
that, from the beginning of our acquaint- 
ance, perfect confidence existed between Heinrich 
Heine and myself. 

"Very Charming and Amiable Lady, 

" I much regret seeing so little of you 
the other day. You made a most favourable 
impression upon me, and I feel a great desire to 
meet you again. Come to-morrow, if possible, at 
all events, as soon as you can. I am ready to 
receive you at any time. But I should prefer 
after four o'clock, until ... as late as you please. 
I write to you myself, in spite of my weak eyes, 
because I have no private secretary just now. I 



HEINRICH HEINE. 1 5 

am beset by many painful reports, and am still 
very ill. I know not why your warm sympathy 
does me so much good, superstitious being that 
I am ! I fancy that a good fairy has visited me 
in the hour of affliction. But if the fairy is 
good, the hour must be propitious ! Or are you 
perchance a wicked fairy? I intend speedily to 
verify the matter. 

"Yours, 

"Heinrich Heine." 

He submitted to the influence that one dis- 
cerning mind exercises over another. As he 
said himself, I had come to him "opportunely 
in fact, just when I was needed." How often 
affections are nipped in the bud, because people 
fail to seize the right moment. When after the 
lapse of so many years, and the formation of 



1 6 THE LAST DAYS OF 

many new friendships, I try to recall the incidents 
of the time Heinrich Heine and I spent together, 
I remember especially a great mutual affection; 
also, an intellectual sympathy, which always re- 
mained the same, and was never debased by the 
admixture of any common-place sentiment. Not 
a shadow of conceit or vanity on either side. 
Having formed our opinion, one of the other, on 
the spot, all was settled, excused, and forgiven 
beforehand. No possible misunderstanding could 
arise ; we showed ourselves sincere, without fear of 
seeming false, which added much to the charm 
of our mutual intercourse, and gave it a some- 
thing, refined, and sui generis, which impressed 
the most casual observers, and inspired respect 
to all. 

He said "iu" (thou) to me from the first, 
which made me feel as if I had always known 



HEINRICH HEINE. 1/ 

him. He treated me like a relative ; therefore I 

tried to assume that part towards him. 

The absence of his secretary, Mr. de Zichlinsky, 

who fell ill, and had no successor, enabled me 

to give a useful purpose to my visits. Heine 

liked to make use of what he called the little 

talents of his "Fly." He gave me this nickname 

in reference to the device on my seal. But to 

return to my duties as secretary ad interim! 

Sometimes he gave me to address the letters he 

wrote to his mother, "the poor old woman," 

sometimes I corrected the proofs of the French 

edition of the " Reisebilder." A laborious task, 

for I was a novice at literary work, and I had to 

rectify a text, interlarded with barbarisms and 

impossible phrases. At other times, Heine 

availed himself of my knowledge of German to 

dictate letters which he found painful to write 

c 



l8 THE LAST DAYS OF 

himself, and I do not think I am betraying con- 
fidence by alluding to one of them, which I am 
sure the Rothschild family preserves in its 
archives. I mean an epistle written after the 
death of its chief, and which, under the form of 
condolence, contains a grand and touching 
description of the Jewish mourning. It was in 
reference to that particular letter penned by me, 
of which Heine considered the caligraphy im- 
perfect, that he calls himself the "Schoolmaster," 
a term recurring in various notes, he wrote 
to me : — 

"No school to-day, for the schoolmaster 
is not yet cure — (bad French) cured — as says old 
Mme. Liszt. Therefore I must dispense with 
you. But pray let me know if you can come 
to-morrow (Monday). My head aches, and it 



-1 



HEINRICH HEINE. I9 

would be selfish to let you call without being 
able to talk to you. 

"Awaiting your reply, 

"I remain, dear Fly, 

"Your most doting, 

"H. H." 

He seemed especially disgusted at the 
incorrect shape of my capitals, and I fancy I 
can still see " I' enfant terrible" of poetry, the 
pitiless banterer, raising with one finger his 
paralysed eyelid, the better to discern the faults 
of my writing, and to trace a copy for me. He 
treated leniently that kind of failing, but 
bunglers rarely, if ever, escaped his wrath, and I 
heard him once discharge a volley of bitter 
raillery against a silly friend of his in Germany, 
who, wishing to appear literary, had conceived 



20 THE LAST DAYS OF 

the mistaken idea of interlarding his letter to 
the poet, with quotations from Schiller. 

Schiller, in an epistle to Heinrich Heine; 
and, moreover, in a, business letter ! He could 
not forget it, and expressed his displeasure by 
one of those sallies frequent with him. 

"That's good, as if he fancied that I care 
for Schiller " 1 he cried indignantly. His smile 
completed the meaning of his exclamation. He 
evidently alluded to that stock of incorrigible 
silliness which adheres like a hereditary curse to 
the Philistine of every rank in all countries. For 
my part, I discovered spite where Heine only 
perceived stupidity. The fascinating artist, the 
discerning critic, who could not forgive his 
fellow-countryman for treating him so incon- 
siderately, forgot that people never raise statues 
to those who call them stupid and "bourgeoisr 




HEINRICH HEINE. 21 

vir. 

ilD he want to know how I should tide 
over a difficulty, and convince himself 
that my mind continued to harmonise with his 
own ? Whether prompted by mere curiosity, or 
by a desire to associate me with him in all his 
work, he talked to me fully about his intended 
translations. The point in question was to find 
melodious and appropriate expressions in French 
to initiate the readers of the "Revue des deux 
Mondes" in a masterpiece which, under the title 
of " New Spring," describes so exactly the feel- 
ings of a heart passing from the coldness of a 
worn-out love, to the fresh delights of a new 
one. He wished, he said, to compare my French 
version with that of his usual translators, and to 
correct their work by mine. I then attached so 



22 THE LAST DAYS OF 

little importance to my ideas that, by some 
strange oversight, I never thought of procuring 
the number of the " Revue des deux Mondes " con- 
taining that fragment of my first literary effort. 
I was perfectly contented with having helped my 
friend ; I wished for no more. 



VIII. 




Whenever I read aloud to him, he 
made many interesting remarks. My 
style of reading German pleased him, for he 
considered it unaffected, simple, and well suited 
to the genius of a language which, of all others, 
he deemed not only the most beautiful, but also 
the most melodious. He thought French more 
terse than elegant, therefore unsuited to poetry, 



HEINRICH HEINE. 23 

and quite incapable of expressing certain inner- 
most feelings. We all know his dislike to Victor 
Hugo, and Alfred de Musset pleased him no 
better. " It is prose in rhyme," he exclaimed 
one day, when I thought to gratify him by 
reading " MardocM." 

Though he failed to admire our poets, he at 
least delighted in our novelists, beginning with 
Alexandre Dumas the elder, whose animation, 
mirth, and marvellous imagination he praised 
incessantly. How often he quoted the " Trois 
Mousquetaires " as a model of the style of writing 
intended to refresh and divert the mind ! 
Amongst those modern writers who, according 
to him, excelled in the art of amusing and 
attracting the reader, he frequently cited an 
author forgotten at the present day — I mean 
Charles Rabou, and his novel, " Le pauvre de 



24 THE LAST DAYS OF 

Montlery." The novels called "philosophical" 
pleased him less, and without denying George 
Sand's wonderful talent, Heine never expressed 
much enthusiasm for her. Quite unlike most of 
her admirers, who declare her to possess a 
masculine style and a manly spirit, he dwelt 
at length on the eminently feminine bent of her 
thoughts, and consequently of her writings. The 
philosophical mind which the great-grand-daughter 
■of Aurora de Konigsmark probably inherited from 
her German origin, failed, in Heine's opinion, to 
rectify those weaknesses of a judgment in which 
he discovered all a woman's waywardness. 
According to Heine, the diffuseness of her 
speeches, the magniloquence of her arguments, 
and, above all, the sameness of her subjects and 
the unreality of her characters, constantly revealed 
the sex of the writer in George Sand. He did 



HEINRICH HEINE. 2$ 

not admire her mind in the abstract ; he re- 
proached her with a fault common to most lady- 
novelists — the impossibilitj'^ of separating the 
woman from the artist, in other words, of re- 
maining neutral in her works. He also blamed 
that want of judgment which impels George 
Sand, like several of her predecessors, to justify 
her principles by her writings, or rather to trans- 
form her principles into personages. To sum up 
his opinion about her, he did not fear to apply 
the term blue stocking, and when I exclaimed 
against it, he added, " Let us say red stocking ! " 
Every superior mind becomes despotic, and the 
reader must not be surprised if the artist, the 
poet who formulated the most splendid descrip- 
tions in the simplest words, could not admire 
writings composed of high-flown eloquence. Be- 
sides, Heine was too clever to believe in novels 



26 THE LAST DAYS OF 

intended to reform society. He considered it the 
specialty of a true artist, whether novelist, poet, 
or dramatic author, to produce poetry by copying 
nature. 

After alj, nothing more could be expected of 
him ; the first to solve this magnificent problem 
was Shakespeare. Of him, Heine always spoke 
with the greatest admiration. 

" See," he used to say, " God holds by right 
the first place, but the second undoubtedly 
belongs to Shakespeare ! " 



IX. 

lEADING aloud to invahds wearies them. 
^Ip Sometimes he begged me to stop. He 
then put out his arm, and with his eyes almost 



HEINRICH HEINE. 2/ 

closed he asked me to place my hand in his. 
For him, he said, it was a means of becoming 
again linked to that life which was slipping away 
from him. Whilst thus speaking, the sound of 
his voice grew strangely eager, and his fingers 
entwined round mine, which he pressed as if it 
lay in my power to keep him in this world. 
In the hope of making him forget such painful 
thoughts, I tried to lead him back to the past, 
and endeavoured to induce him to relate some 
details of his student life, or one of those anec- 
dotes reflecting so truly the narrator's mind. 
The style in which he entertained me about his 
sojourn at Bonn, recalled Goethe's immortal 
volume, " Wilhelm Meistet's Lehrjahrer What 
vivacity in the descriptions of this other Wilhelm 
Meister! What flashes of satire leaped forth 
when he sought to introduce me into the midst 



28 THE LAST DAYS OF 

of those " Burschenschaften " to which he had 
belonged ! I mentioned the '•' Lehrjahre" but it is 
rather in the middle ages, in certain pages of 
Victor Hugo's "Notre Dame de Paris" that we 
must seek for pictures analogous to those which 
Heine described to me. The students that 
figured in those sketches reminded me of the 
agitated, yet pedantic world of scholars in olden 
times. No great passions, but many petty love 
affairs, many hours wasted in drinking, in idle 
discussions ; jests, more or less good, upon all 
existent and non-existent subjects ; no great desire 
to acquire knowledge. On the other hand, broken 
glasses, hiccoughs, duels, brawls, and perhaps 
even sighs. In fact, every conceivable and incon- 
ceivable folly, all the absurdities that arise in a 
student's mind, one of those students of true 
Teutonic race, who, under pretext of seeking the 



HEINRICH HEINE. 29 

explanation of things and of examining them- 
selves, spend their days in dreaming, their nights 
in feasting, and finally advance towards the 
" Unknown " which disturbs their convictions and 
confuses their calculations, stopping meanwhile at 
every house where love or beer is retailed. 

At the period of which Heine spoke, politics, 
by which the public-house keepers throve, excited 
the minds of the middle-class students. They 
organised pic-nics . and marched in troops, singing 
patriotic songs, to one of the ruins overlooking 
the Rhine. There, dominating the ancient river, 
where the luscious vineyards extend right and 
left, and in the shade of dungeons where the 
buzzard succeeds the " Burg-graf" of former 
days, they indulged in harmless manifestations 
against despotic tyranny. The empty provision- 
hamper was the signal for speeches to commence. 



30 THE LAST DAYS OF 

but very often the faltering tongue of the orator 
vainly sought for rousing expressions. He got 
through it as well as he could. One day, for 
instance, when the cloth being laid on the 
" Drackenfels," in the shelter of an old tower 
once the lair of a titled rascal, a guest, feeling 
his tongue very thick, proposed, instead of a 
speech, to make a bonfire of the dungeon. The 
suggestion was received with frantic acclama- 
tions, and after deciding that " union is strength," 
and also that the "maintaining of the rights of 
man implies certain ideas of superiority and 
manliness irresistible to the weaker sex," they 
proceeded to set the improvised pyre' alight with 
their torches. The tower soon blazed away 
merrily, but the authorities, who never had a 
crow to pick with despots, and could not under- 
stand the object of destroying a picturesque ruin, 



HEINRICH HEINE. 3 1 

considered the joke a bad one. The students felt 
compelled to renounce any further bonfires, and 
of all that story in which the poet played a part, 
he kept ' especially in mind a severe attack of 
bronchitis which cured him for ever of all desire 
to share in popular demonstrations. 

Another scene witnessed by Heinrich Heine 
described perhaps still better the outrageously 
bad manners of the style of person who spends 
his life seated at table in pot-houses, and takes 
a pride in his folly until he can boast of his 
learning. It occurred at M. de Savigny's, Pro- 
fessor of Jurisprudence and a celebrated lawyer. 
The student in question, who came, according to 
custom in German Universities, to enter his name 
for the Professor's lectures, appeared in his dress- 
ing-gown, his cap over one ear, and exhaling an 
odour of tobacco from a pipe, of which the long 



32 THE LAST DAYS OF 

stem, adorned with a tassel, peeped out of a 
greasy pocket. He entered simpering, but one 
look of M. de Savigny's stopped him at the door. 
" Does that dressing-gown form your entire ward- 
robe?" asked the Professor severely. The mala- 
pert, in a rage, brazened it out, and answered 
that not only did he possess other garments, but 
a perfectly new coat besides. A significant 
gesture of M. de Savigny's cut this enumeration 
short. "Well then, go home and dress yourself, 
and then come and speak to me ! " 



X. 



|HE doctor having ordered me to take the 
waters at Wildbad, in the Black Forest, 
I was obliged to interrupt my visits for a time. 




HEINRICH HEINE. 33 

The prospect of this separation distressed the 
invalid. I was abandoning him, and for Germany. 
Alas! to be able to accompany me and to do 
as he liked for a last time, to seek in vain for 
some one to exclaim, "Arise and walk!" 

With his head on his pillows, he seemed to 
be dreaming. 

I fancied he saw the Black Forest penetrated 
with the summer heat, on the high mountain, 
the sun-clad fir plantation, the solemn avenue of 
trees, the blue sky behind the shady domes, the 
feathery ferns waving above the yellow mosses, 
the undulating shadows of the grasses ; then, lower 
down, under an azure canopy, the unalterable 
freshness of an idyllic landscape, rustic cottages 
sparkling light upon the babbling wavelets, 
flowers opening beneath a glittering dust, the 
wild ravine illumined by a ray of sunshine. 

D 



34 THE LAST DAYS OF 

Heine remained silent ; I was mutely gazing 
at the motes dancing in the air. The oppressive 
heat entered through the open window; in the 
next room two quarrelsome voices were raised in 
dispute. A deep sigh escaped the patient. Tears 
filled my eyes, and I deemed it egotistical on 
my part to care for my health, when he had so 
short a time to live. 



XI. 



IENTLEST of ^ 'fines mouches ! ' Or rather, 
II putting aside the emblem on your seal, 
ought I not to name you after the perfume of 




1 Evidently a pun on the expression "fine mouche," slyboots, 
and the device on her seal. 



HEINRICH HEINE. 35 



your letter. In that case, I must say, the most 
graceful of ' musk-cats, I received your missive the 
day before yesterday and the 'pattes de mouches' 
keep running in my head, perhaps even in my 
heart. My most grateful thanks for all the 
affection you show me. The translation of the 
poems is very fine, and I repeat what I said 
before you left. I rejoice also, at the thought of 
beholding you soon again, and of placing ^' une 
empreinte vivante' on the sweet and slightly suabian 
features. Ah! that sentence would bear a less 
platonic meaning if I were still a man ! But I 
am only a spirit now, a fact which may suit you 
but scarcely satisfies me! The French edition 



^ Also a pun, " Chatte Musquge, '' meaning a dainty, charming, 
woman, as well as a, musk-cat. 

^ "A living impress." These words which recur often in 
Heine's letters to me, are meant in allusion to an expression I 
once used, and are written in French in the original text. 



36 THE LAST DAYS OF 

of my poems has just come out, and is all 
the rage ; but the poems hitherto unpub- 
lished, for instance, 'The Return of Spring,' 
will appear in two or three months' time, 
in one of the last volumes of the French 
edition. You will perceive that no time has 
been lost. 

"Yes! I shall be delighted to see you again, 
my well-beloved ^fine mouche' of my soul. The 
most graceful of ^ chats musqu^s,' as gentle as an 
angora cat, the kind I always preferred. For 
some time I loved tiger-cats, but they are too 
dangerous, and the living impress they sometimes 
left on my face was unpleasant. I am still very 
ill, constant annoyances and fits of passion 
rage against my state of health, which is 
hopeless. A dying man, thirsting for the wildest 
joys that life can offer. It is dreadful ! Fare- 



HEINRICH HEINE. 37 



well! May the waters strengthen and do you 
good. 

"Most affectionate greeting from your friend, 

"H. H." 



"Paris, /m/j' 20th, 1855. 
'"My dear Friend, 

"You are in Paris, and yet you delay 
coming to shake hands with me. I long to 
inhale the musk of your gloves, to hear the 
sound of your voice, to make a living impression 
on your ^ Suabian face. Do not be angry, 
although so graceful you have a Suabian 
' Gelbveiglein.' Come soon. 

"Yours ever, 

"H. Heine. 

^ This letter was written originally in French. 

* Suabian face, a German idiomatic expression for a good- 
natured face. 



38 THE LAST DAYS OF 

He always accentuated the final letter of his 
name when writing it in French. 



XII. 

nT is easy to discover by the preceding pages, 
as well as by the ' letters he forwarded to 
me at Wildbad and the note awaiting my return 
to Paris, a certainty that his mind was then 
tolerably calm. He seemed pleased at the 
publication of his poems and " Reisebilder" in 
French. 

The improvement caused by the introduction 
of what is called the realistic into literature, has 
made us exacting with regard to composition, 
and we scarcely approve of those desultory works 
where the author, relying upon the proverbial 



HEINRICH HEINE. 39 

good-nature of the reader, takes him right and 
left, without knowing where he will land him, 
not even when the beauty of the excursion 
justifies its length. 

The personal impressions of a writer such as 
the author of the " Reisebilder" excels in 
describing have become almost obsolete at the 
present day. Disconnected as it is, composed of 
fragments resembling in form the fly-leaves of an 
album, still the book will always be considered 
one of Heinrich Heine's best works. Here, 
contrary to his custom, and as in one of his most 
beautiful poems, you perceive that the author is 
unconstrained, that he writes to please himself, 
without caring for praise or censure, you feel that 
his troubles are forgotten in the intense pleasure 
of escaping from close connection with human 
folly and of avoiding the contemptible society of 



40 THE LAST DAYS OF 

people reputed proper to inhale freely the 
mountain air. What sensations of pure joy, of 
freedom, what indulgence in voluptuousness, 
appear in these scenes full of air and of space, 
where the poet, painter, and great artist, sketches 
in turn the picturesque summits upon which 
Goethe placed his saturnalia, and the pathetically 
calm landscapes of beautiful southern climes. 
Certainly few artists and writers, I will not say 
saw less, but travelled less than Heine. A single 
trip to London, one sea-voyage, an expedition to 
the Hartz Mountains, an attempted journey to 
Italy, one season at Bagn^res in the Pyrenees, 
form pretty nearly the entire basis of his resources 
as a describer of scenery. But which of our 
brilliant writers of modern times has succeeded 
in describing better or so vividly the physiognomy 
and the colouring of a landscape ? Let us take 



HEINRICH HEINE. 4I 

for instance his pages on Italy, a country about 
which endless nonsense and lies have been 
written. Travellers and literary men, filled with 
an exaggerated idea of their own superiority, who 
pass six weeks in Italy, with the object of 
bringing out a book, generally possess the 
prejudices of the foreigner who is annoyed at 
failing to meet elsewhere with what pleases him 
at home. Thus the Innkeeper, determined to 
regulate the amount of his bill according to the 
manners of his guest, the little Italian girl 
who yields without any previous hypocritical 
coyness, are transformed by the pen of the 
said travellers into types of baseness and mean- 
ness. In like manner, they only see a low- 
class comedian in the little half- naked beggar 
who dances on the Chiaja at Naples, and in 
the pretty Monsignor, who covered with lace 



42 THE LAST DAYS OF 

enhances the pomp of the great religious cere- 
monies. 

They do not examine, they merely draw 
comparisons, without allowing for the differences 
of temperament, of climate, of education, and of 
character ; they ridicule manners and customs, 
because they differ from those of their native 
land. The mean curiosity of authors who travel 
for the sake of making money at the expense of 
a nation which they affect to despise frequently 
results in erroneous descriptions. Many of these 
accounts treat of the museums, besides the 
treasures and antiquities, which enrich Italy, 
without revealing her idiosyncracies. These 
people seem to ignore that a work of art is after 
all of little account if they possess not the secret 
of the sentiment that created it. This sentiment 
is revealed in every page of the " Reisebilder!' 



HEINRICH HEINE. 43 

Setting aside all consideration of the greater or 
less value of the plan of the work, the "Reise- 
bilder" is a chef-d'czuvre, and until now, the only 
book capable of giving the delicious vision of 
that terrestial paradise of which Goethe's 
" Mignon" deserves to be called the "Eve." 
What a difference however between the ancient 
and classical Italy of the great German classic 
writer and the young and smiling Italy of the 
Jewish poet ! 

The powerful poetical imagination of the Son 
of Israel creates personages suited to the 
character of the landscape. Italy, in his 
pictures, is no longer a vast and mag- 
nificent cemetery, where cypress trees over- 
shadow the marbles, but a fairy-garden, an 
enchanted land, where a priestess, under the 
form of the most beautiful of dancers, cele- 



44 THE LAST DAYS OF 

brates continuously the eternal festival of Youth 
and Love. 

Goethe, when describing Italy in his "Roman 
Elegies," carves a noble bas-relief; Byron and 
Lamartine take up their lyres to compose a 
hymn. Heine grasps not the chisel, nor does he 
touch the lyre in honour of the countrj' he loves, 
but in prose alone he limns a wonderful picture, 
and so beautiful is it, that we are tempted to 
doubt whether the original equals his description. 
Let others lead their readers amidst rows of 
paintings and statues, Henrich Heine calls up 
living images of Dante's birth-place. The 
convent containing religious frescoes descriptive 
of holy miracles, the shady fir trees on the 
heights of Fiesole, where the tourist pauses to 
contemplate Florence peacefully basking under 
the azure sky, the narrow horizon of the hills, 



HEINRICH HEINE. 45 

which, like certain back-grounds in favour with 
the ^"primitifs," is framed in the ogive arch of 
a cloister gilded by the setting sun, the painted 
loggia of the palace, where in the evening is 
heard the laughter of pale, beautiful women, the 
holy Madonna with her shining halo, causing the 
passer-by to dream of a virgin's love ; the 
deserted gardens where marbles intermingled 
with the laurels and myrtles reproduce mytho- 
logical scenes, the calm night illumined by the 
flitting of the fire-flies amidst the foliage of the 
lemon trees, the noisy darkness filled with masked 
figures, the emblazoned sanctuary where prayer 
assumes passionate and amorous formulas ; 
all this assemblage of animated and living 
objects which form the picture of a beautiful 



^ A French school existing in Heine's day, corresponding to 
our pre-Raphaelites. 



46 THE LAST DAYS OF 

country and the soul of a brilliant nation pass 
before us in the few immortal pages which the 
poet devotes to Italy in his " Reisebilder." To 
make his description more complete, he has 
drawn the reverse of the medal and placed 
caricature beside the likeness. The heavy Jewish 
financier, who, wishing to appear well read, 
quotes poetry on the setting sun when it is 
rising, the English protestant lady who believes 
herself witty when making fun of Italian 
predilections, are very successful and pithy 
specimens of those inevitable bores, who, find- 
ing it dull at home, are unfortunately rich 
enough to indulge the privilege of annoying 
others abroad, by obtruding themselves upon 
good honest folks, whom they are bound to 
despise by reason of the prejudices belonging to 
their country and their religion. 



HEINRICH HEINE. 47 

XIII. 

HAVE returned from Wildbad, and am again 
beside the sick man's couch. His strength 
diminishes visibly ; all that he addresses to me 
henceforth, whether in prose or verse, reveals his 
increased depression and sadness. Here are some 
of his notes, and although they afford but little 
literary interest, yet they give a correct idea of the 
physical and mental sufferings he endured : — 

"My dear Soul, 

" My mind is so harassed, I scarcely know 
whether I asked you to come to-day, Thursday, or 
only to-morrow, Friday. I am so unwell to-day, 
that to make assurance doubly sure, let us appoint 
next Saturday for your dear visit. I shall depend 
upon you then. Come soon. I take advantage of 



48 THE LAST DAYS OF 

this Opportunity to transmit the manuscript of 
the poems, and please kindly bring it back when 
read, so that you may, when perusing it with me, , 
acquaint me with any improvements you may 
deem expedient. Dear and beloved creature ! I 
am very ill and quite as bad morally as physically. 
German loyalty and probity are treating me most 
shamefully. I press the lotus-flower to my heart: 
and remain her devoted, 

" H. H. 
" Thursday'' 



'■^ Friday, January iitk, 1856. 

"Dear Child, 

" To-day, I have a dreadful nervous 
headache, which may last, I fear, over to-morrow, 
or may even increase. I hasten to let you know 



HEINRICH HEINE. 49 

that there will be no school to-morrow, and you 
can dispose of your afternoon according to your 
fancy. But I expect you the next day, Sunday. 
If you should not be able to come, my dear gentle 
child, let me know. You need fear no beating 
from me, even if you deserved such a punishment 
for great stupidity — for to handle the rod requires 
more strength than I possess. 

" I am oppressed, suffering, and sad. 

" Kiss the ' 'pattes de moucke.' 

"Your friend, 

"H. H. 

" I think incessantly of the mouche, but do not 
wish to see her to-day, Tuesday, nor even to- 

1 A iouhXt-entaidre, "fattes de mouche" signifying " a scrawl," 
as well as fly's feet, in allusion to "Jim mouche." 
E 



so THE LAST DAYS OF 

morrow. I am very ill, but Thursday, I shall hope 
to see the dearest of mouches. 

" I cannot distinguish what I write. 

"H. H." 



" Tuesday. 
"Dear Friend, 

" I am still very ill, and cannot receive 
you to-day. But I trust you will manage to come 
to-morrow, Sunday. Send me a line in case you 
are obliged to defer your visit until the day after 
to-morrow. 

" Your poor friend, 

" Nabuchadnezzar II., 

" For I am as insane as the King of Babylon, 
and only eat minced grass, called by my cook 
Spinach." 



heinrich heine. $1 

"My Very Dear and Gracious Darling, 

" I do not ask you to visit me to-morrow, 
Wednesday, for I feel a headache coming on, but 
if you could spare me a few moments on Friday 
afternoon, it would be some compensation for not 
having set eyes on you for so long. 

"After Friday, all days will suit me equally 
well to welcome you, and the oftener you call, 
the happier I shall be. My good, my gracious, 
and "fine mouche," come and buzz around my 
nose with your little wings. I know a song of 
Mendelssohn's, of which the burden is : ' Come 
soon!' That melody haunts me continually, 
'Come soon.' I kiss the two dear paws not 
together, but one after the other. Adieu. 

"H. H." 



52 the last days of 

"Dear Creature, 

"I have a dreadful headache to-day 
and dread the consequences for to-morrow. I 
therefore must beg you not to visit me to-morrow, 
Sunday, but on Monday instead, unless business 
brings you into this neighbourhood, when you 
might call at your risk and peril to see me. 
I have a great desire to behold you again, last 
flower of my mournful autumn, beloved madcap. 

" I remain, with doting fondness, 
" Your devoted, 

" H, H. 

" I must use at once the pretty envelopes and 
kiss the beloved paw that has addressed them 
so nicely. I passed a bad night, my cough 
worried me incessantly, and I cannot speak. 



HEINRICH HEINE. S3 

Thanks likewise for the exquisite copy of the 
letter to Madame de R. 

"Greeting and love. I grin with pain, I 
gnash my teeth, I erow mad 

"H. H." 



"Dear 'Mouche,' 

" I am still overwhelmed by a headache, 
certain to last until to-morrow, Wednesday. I 
cannot therefore hope to see my beloved ' mouche ' 
before Thursday. How vexatious ! I am so ill ! 
' 'My brain is full of madness and my Jteart is full 
of sorrow!'' Never was poet more miserable 
amidst the complete happiness which seems to 
mock him. I place a living impression upon 
all your charms, but only in imagination. 



^ In English in the original. 



54 THE LAST DAYS OF 

Imagination is all I can offer you, ^'poor girl! 

Au revoir. 

"H. H. 
" Tuesday, noon. " 



" Beloved ' Mouche,' 

" I have spent a very bad night groaning, 
and am well-nigh dispirited. 

" I expect to hear you buzz about me to- 
morrow. I am, besides, as sentimental as a pug- 
dog in love for the first time. Could I but pour 
out all this sentimentality over M^e- Koreff's 
charms ! But destiny refuses me even that 
satisfaction. You understand nothing of the above, 
for you are a goose. 

" Your gosling, 

"GOSLIN I., 
" King of the Vandals." 

1 In English in the original. 



heinrich heine. 55 

"Dear Gentle Friend, 

"Thanks for your affectionate note. I 

am glad to hear that you are well. As for me, 

alas ! I am still very ill, weak, and restless, often 

affected to tears by the least annoyance, by the 

smallest trick that Dame Fortune plays me. 

Every invalid is a poor fool ; I do not like to 

be seen in so pitiful a plight. But what does it 

signify? For all that, I must hear my Fly buzz. 

Come very soon ! As soon you please. Madam, 

or sooner even, pray understand that. I mean 

as soon as possible, my dear, my beloved little 

being: I have scrawled the poem I forward you, 

pure ^ Chcerentonesque poetry : A madman to a 

madcap. 

" H. H." 

1 Chserenton — The French Bedlam. 



56 THE LAST DAYS OF 

"Paris, August it^tk. 
"Dear Lady, 

" I wrote the above few lines to you 
yesterday, but did not send them. I was too ill. 
To-day, I learn, with sincere regret, that you 
called yesterday, and I hasten to write and beg 
you to repeat your visit very, very soon. I am 
much better. A thousand thanks for the poems, 
but I have not yet read them. 

" Yours most lovingly, 

"H. H. 

"My 'fine mmcke's' visit did me good yester- 
day. I think incessantly of the best, the most 
charming, the most agreeable of 'fines mouches.' 
But I shall not see her, till the day after to- 
morrow. What an eternity to wait. I might 
easily die a hundred deaths meanwhile. 



HEINRICH HEINE. 57 

"Think a little of me, small ganz (goose). 

"You very humble servant, 

" Hans. 
" Tuesday'.' 



The following letter was originally written in 
French : — 

"My Dear Child, 

" I am no longer ailing but simply 
bored, for, during the last two days, workmen 
have been busy putting an awning, with which 
I could dispense, over my window. I read your 
little manuscript over and over again with 
infinite pleasure. We must discuss it. Come if 
you can to-morrow. I long to see you once 
more, and think constantly of my 'fine mouche' 

" H. Heine. 
" Thursday Morning!' 



5 8 the last days of 

"Amiable Friend, 

"I am so ill to-day that I fear there 
will be but little improvement to-morrow. Thus 
I am compelled to ask you to defer your visit 
till Saturday or Sunday. Your veil is quite safe, 
carefully folded on my Secretary. I love you 
with the tenderness of a dying man ; that 
means, most tenderly. 

"H. H. 

Tuesday" 



^'Sunday, September jptli, 1855. 

"Dear Heart, 

" The weather is bad, and I am as 
bad as the weather. I will not expose my 
lotus-flower to the inclemency of these gloomy 
fogs. Ah ! how I long to transform this miser- 



HEINRICH HEINE. 59 

able day into one of those radiant Indian 
mornings such as are found on the banks of the 
Ganges, and prove so congenial to lotus-blossoms. 
Come soon, but not to-day. I shall expect you 
on Wednesday afternoon. I hope this arrange- 
ment will suit you. I place, &c. 

"H. Heine." 



" Dearest, 

" I am ailing and fear the indisposition 
will last a couple of days. I hasten to let you 
know that I shall be able to see you only in 
the middle of the week, so as not to spoil our 
interview by a headache. 

" Ever loving and faithful, 

"H. H. 

" Sunday Morning." 



6o THE LAST DAYS OF 

"Dear Soul, 

" I am very unwell and very much 
vexed. My right eyelid, following the bad 
example of its neighbour, can no longer keep 
open. I can scarcely write. But I love you 
dearly, and think of you, my darling! The 
story did not bore me, and promises well for 
the future. You are not such a fool as you 
look, but you are charming beyond expression, 
and that has a great attraction for me. Shall I 
see you to-morrow? I do not know; for, if I 
continued unwell, you might receive a countermand. 

" I feel myself mastered by a snivelling temper. 
My heart yawns spasmodically. I wish I were 
dead, or a pug-dog in health needing no medicine. 

"Misery, thy name is 

"Heinrich Heine." 



HEINRICH HEINE. 6l 

"Dear Soul, 

" I am very miserable. I coughed 
dreadfully for twenty-four hours ; my head is 
wracked with pain. I fear it will continue to 
ache to-morrow. That is why I ask my beloved 
to defer her visit arranged for Thursday till 
Friday. My ^ Serinski has just sent word that 
he is ill and cannot come at all this week. 
What provoking disappointments, what an awk- 
ward situation in which to be placed ! I intend 
complaining of Providence, who acts so unkindly 
towards me, before the ' Society for the Prevention 
of Cruelty to Animals.' I shall expect you on 
Friday ; meanwhile I kiss in imagination ' /es 
petites pattes de moucke' 

"Your foolish, 

"H. H." 

M. de Zichlinsky, his Secretary. 




62 THE LAST DAYS OF 

XIV. 

|E is very bad, and keeps himself up by 
his energetic will alone, and by an 
ardent desire to conclude editing his Memoirs 
intended to complete his works and to vindicate 
his actions. The reader is aware that serious 
obstacles arose to prevent the publication of that 
curious document, and the defence as well as the 
prosecution will remain secret. I can scarcely 
say it is to be regretted. The object of a book 
ought to be to instruct rather than to insult. 
Besides, after a time tittle-tattle and personal 
attacks cease to interest. The greater portion of 
the public, caring but little for people most of 
whom have disappeared from the scene, only 
perceives the meanness of such quarrels, and 
rightly asks if there is really any reason for 



HEINRICH HEINE. 63 

defence when nobody thinks of bringing an accu- 
sation. There remain the friends and relatives 
of the poet, who especially deplore the uselessness 
of a work that undoubtedly shortened the writer's 
life. How often I found Heine covering large 
sheets of blank paper scattered before him with 
his firm writing, betraying the boldness and clear- 
ness of his thoughts ! The pencil wandered with 
feverish haste over the pages, and assumed, when 
wielded by the poet's taper fingers, the sharpness 
of a murderous weapon, apparently injuring 
spotless reputations. One day, instead of the 
scratching of the pencil, I heard a cruel laugh, 
the laugh of satiated revenge. I looked at 
Heinriph Heine. "I have them," said he; 
" dead or living they shall not escape. Let 
him who has attacked me beware when he reads 
this. Heine does not die like the first best 



64 THE LAST DAYS OF 

man, and the tiger's claws shall survive the tiger 
himself!" 




XV. 

|HANK Heaven, neither his claws, nor his 
^ hatred, nor even the remembrance of the 
errors and faults he may have committed, have 
survived Heinrich Heine, but only the undying 
beauty of his language, the matchless grace of 
the pictures he evoked ! 

To take him as a whole, what contrasts in 
his talents, and what contrasts in his life! The 
most dreamily delicate mind, the most senti- 
mental, the most German, at the same time a 
dreadfully ironical wit, wickedly sensual, and 
thoroughly Parisian. 

His style was sometimes as simple as an old 



HEINRICH HEINE. 6$ 

popular ballad; at others, refined, extravagant, 
and complex, like a fanciful modern " feuilleton'' 
A pagan genius who sculptures Greek godesses 
to such perfection that they seem carved out of 
the finest Parian marble, a Christian imagination 
which paints dolorous virgins such as those rele- 
gated to the shades of sombre old cloisters by 
the rigid bonds of sorrow, a constant yearning 
towards classic Greece and towards the free, 
material, expansive, and happy life as represented 
by Plato and Phidias, at the same time a con- 
stant return to the stiff, mystical figures which 
Albert Diirer and William of Cologne have 
piously reproduced in their engravings. 

Besides all that, flights towards all civilisa- 
tions, — Spain, Persia, Italy, and especially Brah- 
minical India, and its divine rivers filled with 
blooming lotus, where the scorx;hing sun and the 

F 



66 THE LAST DAYS OF 

teeming vegetation alone appear capable of real- 
ising the intensity and fertility of his dreams. 

If from that resplendent world which moved 
in his mind, we descend to the actions and 
sentiments of his life, the contrasts are no less 
striking. He is a Jew brought up by a free- 
thinking mother, he was born in a protestant 
country, and went to school at a Jesuit College. 
He was proud, active, athirst for independence, 
and his Jewish origin subjected him to many 
slights, whilst his poverty kept him in durance 
vile and reduced him to a meagre pittance. He 
was German to the core, and lived in poverty 
far from his country. He adored liberty, but 
the love of controversy raised him into a 
pangyrist of Napoleon. 

He was agitated by the passionate vehemence 
of immoderate desires and of the most vivid 



HEINRICH HEINE. 67 

imaginings, and he spent ten years bed-ridden 
and paralysed, obliged, in order to open his eye, 
to raise the lid with his finger. 

His life was always in extremes, whilst 
Goethe's was ever well-balanced, and his work 
resembles a little flask of Oriental perfumes, 
both too choice and too strong, which over- 
excite our feelings and exhaust our senses. 



XVI. 




'E loved, in the course of our chats, to 
dwell upon the various incidents of his 
childhood. I never heard him speak of his 
people but with affection and gratitude. This 
man, though so much abused, possessed wonder- 
ful tenderness, and loved, with boundless regard, 



68 THE LAST DAYS OF 

those who were kind to him. Ill, half-blind, and 
almost on the eve of death, he indited, with 
divine artifice, merry letters to comfort his 
mother. He never exposed her to public criti- 
cism, and rarely mentioned her revered name. 
He might, however, have testified, without appre- 
hension, to all she had done for him. She gave 
him his earliest intellectual sustenance, and he 
drew from her conversation, as well as from her 
blood, both originality and power. 

Mistress Betty Heine, born von Geldern, and 
daughter of an eminent Jewish physician, had 
received one of those grand scientific and literary 
educations which some families in the last 
century bestowed upon their daughters. She was 
an excellent logician, and in this at least any- 
thing but German. She attached great import- 
ance to precision of words, and described 



HEINRICH HEINE. 6g 

magniloquence as a sure means of becoming 
ridiculous and offensive. She did not approve of 
the sentimentality of the day. By the natural 
soundness of her mind she was French, but 
French only in that. , Belonging to a great 
Jewish family, she loved the people. The Jews 
remaining aliens and foreigners amidst Christian 
nations, readily became cosmopolitan and liberal. 
After having loved France in her great authors, 
such as Voltaire and Rousseau, she loved her, or 
at least she submitted to her, when she beheld 
her in arms and supreme in her native land. 
Properly speaking, why should Mistress Heine 
be Prussian? What patriotism could be reason- 
ably expected from a woman whose religion and 
race were oppressed by t'he falling Government? 
Her people and her religion formed her country, 
and they found better protection under French 



70 THE LAST DAYS OF 

liberalism than beneath German pedantry. The 
Emperor Napoleon I. had extended France to 
the banks of the Rhine. The houses, trans- 
formed for the nonce into inns, were thrown 
open to the gay and brilliant soldiers, who 
aspired to the conquests of countries and hearts. 
Mistress Heine placed her house at their dis- 
posal. In her they found a generous hostess, 
who only required them in return, to speak 
French to her children. Need I say how readily 
they granted her request? An ahbi dmigri, 
a jolly drummer of the early wars of the 
" Directoire" undertook to teach French to the 
embryo poet ; the plan succeeded admirably, if 
we judge of it by the progress he made. Not 
only did he learn French, but he appreciated it, 
he seized the spirit of the language, he pene- 
trated the character of the men who spoke it. 



HEINRICH HEINE. J I 

He saw, per contra, a thing few Germans dare 
hardly suspect — I mean the distance between a 
heavy and a Hvely style, how tedious tedium 
must always prove, how pleasing is pleasantness. 
His French tutors tried to teach him history, 
but he did not progress at all ; especially in 
Roman history his blunders were many, and he 
invariably confused the histories of Rome and of 
France, above all with regard to the Csesars 
(and that to the end of his days) ; a natural 
enough error, if we consider the language in 
which he was forced to repeat his lesson. From 
Caesar to the other divinities of Olympus there 
was no great distance, and for the child all those 
people were equally resplendent, and hurled 
thunderbolts. He ascended only too willingly 
into Olympus, stopped from choice before dame 
Venus ; and many a time, if we are to believe 



72 THE LAST DAYS OF 

him, he neglected his exercise to ponder over the 
beautiful goddess's adventures, and to study her 
profile and full face. "I knew," said he, "her 
catechism better than any scholar of ancient 
Rome ! " This did not prevent him, however, 
from casting occasionally an imploring look, may 
be ironically, at a representation of Christ de- 
livered up to the scourge of his tormentors. It 
was placed under the arches of the old cloister, 
apparently as a warning to idle scholars. 



XVII. 




|HESE charming anecdotes which revealed 
£< so much of the inmost recesses of a 

refined mind, became unfortunately few and far 

between. 



HEINRICH HEINE. 73 

Even with me at hand, he sometimes 
abandoned himself to those sad reveries when 
the souls of the sick apparently wander away 
into unknown and gloomy space. Occasionally, 
on recovering from this drowsiness, he uttered 
prolonged groans of despair, or he tried to laugh 
at some improper story, some ribald saying, 
which seemed to be borrowed from the coarser 
passages of ancient Jewish history; he appeared 
to repeat them inwardly. Unexpected, strange, 
and poetical words arose like roses from a heap 
of rubbish, and attracted me anew to the poet, 
when I was on the point of forsaking, almost 
against any will, the sensualist, the refined 
libertine, and sceptic. One day, perceiving that 
he alarmed me, he stretched out his arm, took 
hold of mine, and pressed it violently. "Forgive 
me," he said, "it will soon be over. It is the 



74 THE LAST DAYS OF 

fault of approaching death. It draws near 
rapidly, and when I feel it quite close to me, I 
must cling to life, if only by a rotten beam ! " 

He spoke in a whisper, and his hollow voice 
seemed to issue from the mouth of a corpse, or 
rather from the pallid lips of one of those 
vampires which, according to the uncanny 
Hungarian legend, quit the tomb, and visit at 
night the abodes of the living to rob them of 
the strength the vampire needs to re-animate its 
dead body. 



XVHI. 



^^^^NE day I arrived at Heine's, my mind 
3^^!» full of the "Confessions of St. 
Augustine," which I then read for the first time, 



HEINRICH HEINE. 75 

and with an enthusiasm that could not fail to 
cause him to smile. His satirical look confused 
me, and I asked him if he did not consider the 
book interesting. 

" Oh ! charming certainly, that is, until his 
conversion ! " he replied in that clear and 
vibrating tone which I shall never forget, for 
its emphasis alone implied raillery. He did 
not always jest, however, and at certain 
moments he tried to guess at the future through 
the thick veil ot the present. A man is more 
inclined to be sceptical, when he is well and 
happy. When his sufferings increased, Heine 
often told me of a sudden impulse constraining 
him to stretch out his arms towards heaven and 
to crave for mercy. He experienced this feeling, 
especially during those endless nocturnal insomnia 
when the dream of vanished pleasures blended 



•]6 THE LAST DAYS OF 

with the bitter recollection of injustice undergone 
and insults received — a deplorable condition, when 
delirium, bringing before him in turns pleasant 
pictures and threatening faces, caused him some- 
times to cry out, and at other times to sigh. 

Often, as I said before, he fancied himself again 
a child in his paternal home, and began life anew, 
smiling on those dear forms who had always 
received him so tenderly. 

Once, when awakening from a long slumber, 
he told me he had dreamt about his father. 
" He was having his hair dressed, and I per- 
ceived him through a cloud of powder. Delighted 
at seeing him again, I tried to rush into his 
arms. But, strange to say, as I drew nearer, 
things became confused. Thus, when I wanted 
to kiss my father's hands, I drew back, chilled 
with cold, for the fingers turned to withered 



HEINRICH HEINE. TJ 

branches ; my father himself became a bare tree, 
covered with winter rime. . . ." 

We see that the poet remained poet, even in 
his dreams, or rather his genius, always master of 
invention, subjected to him the fancies created 
by his delirium. The nightmare became a poem. 
Another day, his dream was still more strange, 
and it suggested the theme of his last poem 
called " The Passion Flower," of which the trans- 
lation will be found at the end of the book. 
He knew he was dead, stretched out motionless 
at the bottom of a magnificent mausoleum 
which surpassed all the rest in splendour. 
Incomparable sculptures, and the most costly 
marble, rendered it unique, whilst admirable 
bas-reliefs represented by turns imposing and 
grotesque scenes, divine and droll characters. 
But what added to the strangeness of the picture 



78 THE LAST DAYS OF 

was a sad -coloured plant which rose at the foot 
of the sarcophagus, and seemed as if it would 
take root there. One single flower crowned the 
stalk with lanciniated petals, and, in its pale 
calyx, he saw distinctly the instruments of torture 
used for our Lord's crucifixion. Suddenly the 
flower quickened into life, and assumed a human 
face. A sad, gentle countenance, bent with a 
compassionate expression towards the dead man, 
and he soon recognised the well-known features. 
Oh ! magic of dreams ! His distant country was 
there before him, no longer angry and severe, 
but indulgent to the poet, smiling upon the man 
who, in his youth, had felt her charms, and 
received her promises. He had loved her first 
under the white frock of a child. After 
Veronica, he loved her in the fastnesses of the 
HartE mountains, under the rosy face of a 



HEINRICH HEINE. 79 

miner's daughter. He loved her again as a 
chatelaine on the banks of the Rhine, a 
legendary Lorelei, watching proudly from her 
mountain-top the doom of the victims attracted 
by her magic song. For the last time to-day 
she appeared in the form of a flower. A 
melancholy flower, no doubt, emblem of pain, 
but still a flower in spite of its mourning and 
funereal symbols. Heine owed her a smile; he 
could not refuse it. 



XIX. 




^NE morning towards the middle of 
December I heard an animated con- 
versation in the invalid's room. I entered, Mme. 
Heine was absent, but my usual seat by the bed 



8o THE LAST DAYS OF 

was occupied by a fair lady, both elegant and 
graceful, who shook hands cordially with me, and 
seemed quite at home. At the same time, a 
young man with a pleasant face advanced towards 
me with a bow. 

For all introduction, Heine kissed me on the 
forehead, and said, " Here is my ' moucke." I 
found myself in presence of M^e- Charlotte von 
Embden, the poet's beloved sister, and one of his 
brothers, M. Gustav Heine, then Editor of the 
' TagblaW at Vienna. They both deemed it 
right to express their grateful thanks, in all 
sincerity no doubt, but they confused me. 
Evidently my poor friend, carried away by his 
tenderness for me, had lauded me to the skies, 
and I felt quite relieved when M^e. Embden, 
pleading the necessity of some business con- 
versation between the brothers, carried me off 



HEINRICH HEINE, 8 1 

into the next room. There, face to face, we 
conversed at length about the man we both 
loved, gliding past certain delicate subjects and 
skimming over others, on which we could not 
dwell at length. 

At times, one same thought brought tears 
into our eyes, and we sat hushed as if all were 
already over. 

We knew, without saying it, that our friend 
grew rapidly weaker, and that the end was near. 



XX. 

|ID the poet foresee the approach of that 
end ? Did he guess, when taking leave 
of his brother and his sister, that the farewells 
would be final? 




82 THE DAYS LAST OF 

At all events, that visit made him nervous, 
restless, agitated, absorbed as it were, by an 
increase of fresh anxieties. Notwithstanding all 
these cares and apprehensions, all the more acute, 
as they rested on the head of a dying man, he 
remained amiable. I am not alluding now to 
that animation, wit — that wonderful intellectual 
vitality which, with him, remained unimpaired 
in spite of fearful sufferings, but simply of that 
desire to forget himself in order to please others. 
Fete-days, New-year's day — all those dates so 
irksome to an invalid, only aroused in him kind 
thoughts and pretexts for making presents. He 
has now been dead more than tWenty-six years, 
but my eyes fill with tears when they rest 
on the pink silk box he sent me, full of 
bon-bons, six weeks before his death, on the 
first of January, 1856 — that same first of 



HEINRICH HEINE. 83 

January when he indited to me one of his 
prettiest letters. 

"Dear Child (he wrote), 

" I send you my good wishes for the 
New Year. Though the box may not be 
tasteful, I hope the chocolate will be to your 
taste. I know it will not gratify you much if 
I thus fulfil towards you the duties required by 
custom, but we must not let those around us 
suppose any want of mutual esteem. We must 
therefore be careful not to neglect those little 
attentions which have becoriie customary. I, 
for my part, love you so much I cannot see 
the need of esteem at all. You are my dear 
'mouchel and my sufferings seem less distressing 
when I dwell on your sweetness and the charms 
of your mind. All I can unfortunately do for 



84 THE LAST DAYS OF 

you is to send you such words '■ de Vair 
monnaye.' My best wishes for a happy New 
Year 

" I abstain from expressing them — words, 
words ! I shall perhaps feel well enough to see 
my ^ mouche' to-morrow. At all events she will 
come the day after to-morrow, Thursday, to call 
upon 

" Her Nebuchodonosor II., 

" Formerly atheist to his Prussian Majesty, now 
worshipper of the Lotus-flower." 



XXI. 



'E possessed up to the last, the same 
wild fancies, the same audacity of 
thought and expression, the same versatile wit. 




HEINRICH HEINE. 85 



the same horror of false sentimentality, the same 
delightful blending of deep tenderness and cruel 
raillery, which caused him to be considered 
immoral, first by his fellow-countrymen, and then 
by those who, owing to their character and 
education, failed to understand the impetuosity 
and contradictions of the artistic temperament. 
His was perhaps, one of the most perfect that 
ever emanated from that mysterious and eternal 
hand, which uses the same clay to rough-hew 
clowns and to create poets. With Heinrich 
Heine, the true man shows himself in his works, 
we recognise him constantly in his poems, his 
tales, those picturesque fragments in which he 
relates unawares, his own story, the story of a 
mind prematurely embittered by contact with 
vulgar humanity. 

In imitation of great artists, he willingly 



86 THE LAST DAYS OF 

takes himself as a subject of study, he has 
penned numerous sketches, where he borrowed a 
fancy dress, that which best suited the tone of 
his mind at the moment, the more or less 
eccentric tinge of his humour. Unfortunately he 
only writes in fragments, he confuses various 
ages, and you perceive the child only through 
the grown man, as in a labyrinth of floating 
visions, in semi-obscurity. 

Strange dreams, where raillery cloaks tender- 
ness, roseate clouds, where fair angel heads 
appear between baneful demon-faces, transparent 
fogs gilded by an imaginary sun, shifting land- 
scapes full of contrasts, sometimes a cloister- 
garden, and close beside it the blue waters of a 
Greek river, sometimes Gothic ruins, and close by 
the Indian cactus, displaying its blood-red purple 
blossoms. 



HEINRICH HEINE. 87 

Amidst all these enchantments appears a 
scholar, thoughtful or absent, a cynical or mystic 
student, of whom you will see the original types 
in the book of " Tambour Legrand" or in the 
memoirs of " Schuabekwopski" in the pages of 
the "Florentine Nights," and in some of the 
most touching chapters of the " Reisebilder." 
The future Heine shows himself in the expression 
of his mobile countenance, and in the exuberance 
of that .imagination, wild, powerful, morbid, and 
passionate. Satire already curls the lip, the 
forehead is prematurely lined, the soul has 
strange eccentricities, , sometimes fanciful, and at 
others mournful. What he delights to represent 
are splendid forms coupled in monstrous groups; 
here a child pressed against the bosom of a 
goddess, there a bleeding and swooning youth 
embracing a sphinx, yonder a man holding in 



88 THE LAST DAYS OF 

his arms a corpse. Whether beautiful or 
revolting, these figures attract and rivet the eye. 
Behind them you perceive the still stranger 
figure of the poet, a pale face, with flaming eyes, 
a calm smile, a head worn by the wear and tear 
of desires and anxieties, and matured by the 
tendencies of thoughts that knew no restraint. 
The mind it contains is naturally rebellious as 
well as eccentric, from the first he contemned 
public opinion, he shook himself free of the law. 
But he was too high-bred to fall into those 
philosophic sophisms, which, in Schiller's days 
transformed a disappointed gentleman's son into 
a leader of banditti, or to accept the fallacies of 
positivism, which, in our days transform a 
discontented young man into a pretentious and 
unscrupulous swindler. On the other hand, he 
surprises you by the precocious arrogance of his 



HEINRICH HEINE. 89 



causticity and disdain, by the audacity of his 
imaginary desires, by his aversion to any simple 
and pure creation, by his instinctive search 
after immoderate and frenzied sensations. With 
the true skill of a "raffini" artist, he knew how 
to keep cool, whilst making you shudder. 

"Madame," said he recalling one of the most 
painful recollections of his childhood, "you 
cannot think how pretty Veronica looked in her 
little coffin. The burning tapers placed around, 
lighted up her little pale and smiling face, the 
red silk rosettes and the gold tinsel leaves, which 
adorned her tiny head and shroud. Pious Ursula, 
the nurse, took me one evening to that silent 
room, and at sight of the coffin, the flowers and 
the tapers on the table, I fancied she was a 
beautiful waxen figure, but I soon recognised 
that dear face, and asked, smiling, why little 



90 THE LAST DAYS OF 

Veronica remained so quiet. Ursula replied, 
' Death is the cause ! ' " 

Strange to say, living and blooming nature 
repelled him like a hackneyed show, and for that 
reason, disagreeable. " Her face," he said of a 
young girl, "had that physical freshness, those 
carnation tints, a rose-colour which impress me 
painfully, for I prefer the tints of a corpse or of 
marble!" 

What he liked, and what fascinated him in 
the beloved faces of the dead and dying, was 
the impassive coldness of the being removed 
from time and real existence. Such is Joanna, 
the enthusiastic worshipper of the Madonna, she 
to whom Lorelei, the beautiful fairy of the Rhine, 
appears in the evening, such is Sophia, the pale 
girl, who loves Novalis so much and dies from 
reading his works too often. Such is the mysterious 



HEINRICH HEINE. pi 

heroine of the "Florentine Nights," that "Maria 
la morte" whose offended spirit reappears through 
most of Heine's works, and pursues him incessantly. 
The women who recur in his imaginings are of too 
subtle, too exalted a nature, to have endured life 
for long, they are not women, real blood, never 

, ran in their veins. He told me himself, "I have 

never really loved but statues or dead women ! " 

Here, as elsewhere, he only bowed down 

Haefore his dreams, and the indefinable majesty 
of death, or the sublime pallor of marble, before 
the distant and tragic apparitions of fancy or of 
history, before the royal spectre of the imperious 
Jewess Herodias, before these wonderful creatures 
compounded of mud and gold, whom he some- 
times calls Laurentia or Verry, and who partake 
of the fairy and the vampire, of the ghoul and 
the angel. 




92 THE LAST DAYS OF 

XXII. 

|HE month of February began badly. The 
^ weather was dark, cold, and wet; and a 
cold which kept me indoors interrupted, for a 
time, my visits to him. 

He enjoyed much the pretty fairy-tales given , 
by M. Laboulaye as New-year's gifts to the 
readers of the Journal des Debats, and he begged 
me to obtain the number containing the rest of 
these tales. For want of exact information, I 
was obliged to go myself and buy the number 
required, and it was only at the end of the week 
that I again visited my friend, alas ! without 
suspecting that I should then see him for the 
last time among the living. When I entered, 
the deathly pallor of his features struck me. I 
found him in the twilight of one of the saddest 



HEINRICH HEINE. 93 

winter days, mournful, dejected, and depressed. 
"Here you are at last," he said. He had often 
before greeted me with the same words, but to- 
day he uttered them in a tone of reproach rather 
than affection. Therefore even he also misunder- 
stood me. The injustice of the reproach went to 
my heart: I burst into tears. The difficulty of 
explaining matters to such an invalid, and of 
making him believe that in leaving my bed to 
visit him I had made a great effort, tortured me. 
Suddenly, in spite of the darkness that concealed 
my face, he guessed my trouble, he called me 
to him, and made me sit on the edge of his 
couch.- The tears which ran down my pale 
cheeks seemed to disturb him greatly. 

"Take off your bonnet that I may see you 
better," he exclaimed. 

And with a caressing movement he gently 



94 THE LAST DAYS OF 

touched the bow which tied my bonnet. I 
instantly threw it off and fell on my knees 
beside the bed. Was it the bitter remembrance 
of past sorrow, or the still more painful presenti- 
ment of future grief? I tried vainly to subdue 
the sobs which suffocated me, and I felt myself 
overwhelmed by the violence of my feelings. 
We remained silent, but he placed his hand on 
my head and seemed to bless me. Thus passed 
our last interview. 




XXIII. 

HEN on the threshold of his room, 
t almost on the stairs, I heard him call 
out, in his dear, vibrating, spasmodic tones — 
" Come to-morrow, do not fail ! " 
And I disobeyed that last request ! 




HEINRICH HEINE. 95 

XXIV. 

|HE lapse of a quarter of a century since 
^ the events related above has confused 
some of my recollections. Thus I cannot exactly 
call to mind the reason of failing to return the 
next day to my friend. Was I feverish ? Was 
I worse? It is possible, even probable, that I 
could not undergo such scenes with impunity ; 
for I was young and delicate. I am certain, 
however, that by a great effort I might have 
paid that visit, and thereby fulfilled a sacred 
duty and been spared everlasting remorse. My 
excuse towards Heine and my vindication towards 
myself must be, that I felt myself literally 
breaking down under the weight of an indefin- 
able sensation. When awake, I had a strange 
feeling of dualism in myself, an intellectual 



96 THE LAST DAYS OF 

witchery, which Heine has so well described in 
one of the poems he addressed to me. ^ When 
asleep, I felt myself tormented by I know not 
what dismal nightmare ; death pursued and sought 
to drag me, living and young, down into that 
gulf opened wide to those who to-morrow will be 
only dust and ashes. 



XXV. 



^^&N that Sunday, February 17th, I awoke 
^^PS in a singular manner. Towards eight 
o'clock, I heard a noise in my room, a kind of 



1 " Dich fesselt raein Ged ankenbann, 

Und was ich denke, must du denken." 

My thoughts fill and o'erwhelm thy mind, 
What I think doth thine ever bind. 



HEINRICH HEINE. 97 

fluttering, like that produced on summer evenings 
by moths entering the open windows and seeking 
noisily for egress. I opened my eyes, and closed 
them again immediately, for a black form was 
writhing like a gigantic insect in the dawn, and 
sought some way of escape. 

The remembrance of that vision — the only 
one I ever had — about which I make no 
comment, and only mention because of its 
strangeness, will always remain connected in 
my mind with the date of Heinrich Heine's 
death. 

In spite of the cold and the remains of a 

severe indisposition, I knocked at ten o'clock at 

my dear poet's door. When told that he had 

gone to his last restj I felt stunned and scarcely 

understood it. After the first moment of stupor, 

I asked to see him. 

H 



98 THE LAST DAYS OF 

They took me into the silent room where, like 
a statue on a tomb, the body rested in the 
majestic calmness of death. Nothing human in 
that cold corpse, nothing which recalled the 
man who had loved, hated, and suffered : an 
ancient mask, over which the final calm cast a 
frost of haughty indifference, a pale, marble face, 
the pure profile recalling the most perfect chef 
d'auvre of Greek sculpture. Such I beheld him 
for the last time ; his features, deified so to 
speak, brought to mind some beautiful allegory. 
Death showed itself just towards one who had 
loved it, and transformed him into a statue, 
when, like the divine figure depicted in his 
" Pilgrimage to Kevlaar," the great consoler had, 
in the early morning hour, bent its steps 
towards the invalid's couch to release him from 
his sufferings. 




HEINRICH HEINE. 99 

XXVI. 

^EATH causes sudden and unreasoning 
terror. But only a feeling of profound 
admiration possessed me on be:holding that noble 
form pillowed in everlasting slumber. Astonish- 
ment congealed my unshed tears, but the icy 
coldness of the hand which my lips could not 
warm, recalled the dire truth. I then understood 
that he was dead ; and, impelled by an involuntary 
feeling of repulsion, I left the chamber where 
my presence was no longer of consequence. A 
kind of bewilderment obscured my ideas ; and for 
the next few days I only experienced one definite 
feeling, a dead calm, which would last as long as 
I lived — something like the despair of a ship- 
wrecked mariner who only escapes the tempest 
to perish in a desert. 



100 THE LAST DAYS OF 



All was at an end, and for ever. No more 
tender words, no cries of joy, or, what affected 
me more deeply, imprecations, curses, rage, if by 
chance I arrived late, or felt obliged to shorten 
my visit. How the lion bounded on his couch 
when I arrived ! And what upbraiding if I 
delayed ! The picture of a torture summed up 
in two words, a cry of anguish. "You cannot 
understand the meaning of the word waiting to 
Prometheus chained to his rock ! " 

Who amongst my surroundings will ever love 
me so well ? Silence of death ! Oh I how I 
should like to recall the tempest, the cruel 
importunities which formerly wore away my 
life, filling my mind with fatal doubts and 
alarming queries! I had foreseen all except this 
sudden silence, all save this limitless calm, the 
mere thought of which weighed more heavily on 



HEINRICH HEINE. 



lOI 



my shoulders than the lead of his coffin on his. 
I often wished to die to escape from him, and 
he revenged himself from the tomb by crushing 
me. 




POEMS. 



POEMS. 



Zbc passion jflowcr. 
I. 

^j^^^Y dream was framed in semi-obscurity. 
Sl^iiii A summer's night. Dim fragments, 
mutilated remains of a dead magnificence, odds 
and ends of architecture, ruins from the time of 
the Renaissance, lie scattered about, beneath the 
fluctuating light of the moon. Here and there a 
column, with its classical Doric capital, stands 
erect amidst the crumbling remains. Pointing 
daringly towards Heaven, it seems to defy the 
thunderbolt. 

Elsewhere, the remains of porticoes, of gabled 



I06 THE LAST DAYS OF 

roofs, the corners of which, laboriously carved, 
are adorned with sculptures representing creatures 
that are neither man nor beast — gargoyles, 
sphinxes, centaurs, satyrs, and fabulous monsters ; 
in short, all the fantastic creatures of the mytho- 
logic world lie scattered on the ground. 

More than one woman's form, sculptured in 
stone, reposes in the grass, wan nudity, beneath 
a network of wild vegetation. 

Time, that incurable syphilis, has eaten away 
their noble noses, the classic noses of goddess 
and nymph. 

A marble sarcophagus, the only perfect monu- 
ment amidst this heap of fragments, dominates 
the ruins ; and in this tomb reposes, preserved 
likewise from the effects of destruction, a dead 
man, with a gentle and melancholy countenance. 
Cariatides, with outstretched necks, support the 



HEINRICH HEINE. IO7 

monument, and the bas-reliefs round it represent 
a world of sculptured figures. 

Here the eye rests upon the grandeur of 
Olympus and the wanton heathen goddesses. 
Standing beside them are seen Adam and Eve, 
wearing the modest aprons of fig-leaves. 

Behold the fall of Troy — Troy perishing in 
the flames — Paris, Helen, and Hector. 

Biblical characters — Aaron, Moses, Judith, and 
Holophernes, the impious Haman himself — follow 
in the procession of Greek heroes. 

The same bas-relief contains an image of the 
god Amor, of Phoebus-Apollo ; then groups 
composed of Vulcan and dame Venus, Pluto and 
Proserpine; lastly. Mercury and Bacchus, accom- 
panied by Priapus and Silenus. 

Behind them appears Balaam's ass (the latter 
a striking likeness); you also see the sacrifice of 



I08 THE LAST DAYS OF 

Abraham, and Lot (who got tipsy with his" 
daughters). 

Here dances Salome ; they are bringing in a 
charger the head of John the Baptist. Further 
on, Hell with Satan, and St. Peter bearing the 
gigantic key which opens the gates of Heaven. 

Beyond this, a lewd picture, the loves and 
misdeeds of Jupiter, how he seduced Leda under 
the guise of a swan, and Dance as a shower of 
gold pieces. 

Here Diana, followed by her suite of nymphs 
in short tunics, flashes by, hounds running and 
panting after her ; close by, Hercules, disguised 
as a woman, spins with the distaff on his arm. 

There Mount Sinai comes into view, the 
Israelites worship the golden calf at the foot of 
the mountain, and Christ as a child is seen dis- 
puting with the elders in the Temple. 



HEINRICH HEINE. lOQ 

The contrasts are boldly expressed. The 
voluptuousness of pagan Greece and the divine 
personification of Jewish thought. 

The ivy twisting around the figures enwraps 
them in its gloomy clasp. 

Oh ! the fancifulness of dreams ! Whilst my 
eyes dwelt upon these sculptures, methought 
suddenly that I was the dead man filling that 
magnificent tomb. 

A flower bloomed at the head of my couch, 
a blossom of enigmatical appearance. Its petals 
were violet and saffron, and it exhaled a wild 
charm of love. 

The people call it "passion flower," and say 
it sprang up on the soil of Calvary from the 
crucified Saviour's redeeming blood. 

According to the legend, that flower 
bears a witness of blood, and its calyx repre- 



no THE LAST DAYS OF 

sents all the instruments of our Lord's martyr- 
dom. 

Nails, hammer, thongs, and chalice, the cross 
and the crown of thorns ; all the attributes of 
the passion, all the bloody appliances of torture. 

Such a flower grew near my tomb, and bend- 
ing over my corpse, like a sorrowing woman in 
mute distress, kissed my forehead, my eyes, my 
hands. 

Oh ! sorcery of dreams ! Behold, by a strange 
transformation, the yellow and purple passion 
flower becomes a woman, and that woman is my 
beloved. 

Yes, thou wast the flower, oh my child ! I 
knew thee by thy kisses. Flower-lips are not so 
soft, flower-tears do not burn. My eyelids were 
closed, but my mind still contemplates thy face. 
Thou didst look at me as if in rapture; pale 



HEINRICH HIENE. Ill 

thou wert, beneath the rays of the moon, which 
caressed thee with its fantastic glimpses. 

We did not speak, and yet my heart heard 
what passed in thine ; the word pronounced 
aloud sounds worse, the pure flower of love is 
silence ! 

And how eloquent such silence ! All can 
be said without metaphor ; the soul sees 
not the need of hoisting the hypocritical 
-vine-leaf; we understand, without heeding the 
beauty of the rhyme or the rhythm of the 
sentence. 

Face to face, words unveiled assume too 
• crude an aspect. Flesh is subject to the con- 
ditions of time and place, but thoughts know no 
fetters. 

By a calm look they seal their agreement. 
Sometimes urged by a strange desire, they rush 



112 THE LAST DAYS OF 

into folly ; then suddenly they reappear as white 
and spotless as regal swans. 

Mute dialogue — we can scarcely believe 
how time flies, during the silent converse, 
in the delightful dream of a summer's night, 
interwoven with pleasure and terror. Never 
ask me what we said. Question the glow- 
worm as to whence comes its brightness, or 
bid the wave explain its murmuring; ask the 
west wind the meaning of its moanings and 
plaints. 

Seek the purport of the fire in the carbuncle, 
or of the perfume in the rose, but never — dost 
thou heed me? — never ask about what the dead 
man and the flower of martyrdom communed 
together under the moon's rays in the funereal 
garden. 

I ignore how long I enjoyed that beautiful 



IIEINRICH HEINE. II3 

calm dream in my cool marble cell. Alas ! my 
quietude soon vanished. 

Thou alone, Death, with thy sepulchral 
silence, canst give us perfect delight. Brutal 
and absurd life gives us the convulsions 
of passion — that is to say, harassed and 
.anjdous pleasure, incessant agitation, as true 
happiness. 

Alas ! shocking clamours from without, ended 
my bliss. My flower fled before the vulgar noise 
of a low dispute. Yes ! I heard the sound of 
voices raised in quarrel in transports of rage. 
Certain accents struck me. I fancied I recognised 
the tones of the personages sculptured on the 
bas-relief of my tomb. 

What ! can the superannuated ghost of Faith 

haunt the stone ? Does dissension appear amongst 

marble groups? There is Pan's warning cry— 
I 



114 THE LAST DAYS OF 

wild god of the forests, who seems to rival in 
energy Moses in his wrath. 

Never can that quarrel end, for strife will 
ever exist between the beautiful and the true ; 
the army of humanity must always remain divided 
into two camps — that of the Barbarians and that 
of the Hellenes. 

How they abused each other! What insults 
they hurled at one another! Their insipid 
controversy was never-ending! There was 
especially a certain ass, Balaam's ass ; it made 
more noise than the gods and the saints together. 

With its hee-haw, hee-haw, its ridiculous and 
stupid braying, the foolish beast provoked me. 
At last, even I screamed aloud and awoke. 



HEINRICH HEINE. II5 

II. 

HOU art bound within the magic circle 
^1^^ of my thoughts, and when I imagine 
and dream, so must thou in thy turn dream 
and imagine in like manner. 

Thou canst not escape from my mind's 
embrace. Its fierce breath envelops thee ; even 
in thy bed, thou art not safe from its sneer 
and its caress. 

Whilst my corpse lies in the tomb, my mind 
survives, and, like a familiar spirit, occupies thy 
heart, my ever graceful one. Vouchsafe it 
readily the soft little nest. Whatever thou 
mayest do, thou canst never escape from the 
monster, the poor scamp, didst thou even flee 
to Japan or China. 

For, wherever thou mayest wander, my spirit 



Il6 THE LAST DAYS OF 

nestles in thy heart ; it there dreams its foolish 
dreams, and there attempts its somersaults. 

Dost thou hear ? It is making music, and 
its bounds, like its chords, have such power that 
the fly, wandering in the folds of thy curtain, 
pauses entranced and leaps with joy. 




III. 

sEAR my sides, my chest, my face, with 
red-hot pincers, flay me alive, shoot, 
stone me, rather than keep me waiting. 

With all imaginable torture, cruelly break my 
limbs, but do not keep me waiting ; for of all 
torments disappointed expectation is the most 
painful. 

I expected thee all yesterday afternoon until 



HEINRICH HEINE. II7 

six o'clock. But thou didst not come, thou 
witch, and I grew almost mad. Impatience 
encircled me like the folds of a viper, and I 
bounded on my couch at every ring, but oh ! 
mortal anguish, it did not bring thee. 

Thou didst fail to come; I fret, I fume, and 
Satanas whispered mockingly in my ear — "The 
charming lotus-flower makes fun of thee, thou 
old fool!" 



IV. 



|ORDS, words, and no deeds! Never 
("aiil^ any meat, darling dolly. Always soul, 
and never any roast! For ever soupe maigre. 
Who knows if the fierce bounds of Dame 
Nature, riding her hobby-horse. Passion; who 



Il8 THE LAST DAYS OF 

knows if that diabolical chase, the diurnal gallop 
of the great steeple-chase of love, would not end 
by exhausting thy delicate person ? 

Believe me, for thee, darling, a cripple like 
me is the most healthy of lovers. Therefore I 
invite thee, my charmer, to devote all the 
strength of thy soul to the consolidating of our 
intellectual ties. Such a regimen will suit thee 
excellently well. 

The End. 




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Stewart's {Dugald) Collected Works, best edition, edited 
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Biographical Memoirs of Adam Smith, Principal Robert 
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Supplementary Volume, with General Index, 8vo, cloth 
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History of the War of Frederick I. against the Communes 
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Martineau {Harriet) — The History of British Rule in 
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Mathews {^Charles James^ the Actor) — Life of, chiefly 
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Patterson {R, If.) — The New Golden Age, and Influence 

of the Precious Metals upon the War, 2 vols, 8vo, cloth (pub 

3IS 6d), 6s, Blackwood & Sons. 

Contents. 

Vol I. — The Period of Discovery and Romance op the New Golden 
Age, 1848-56. — The First Tidings — Scientific Fears, and General Enthusiasm — 
The Great Emigration — General Effects of the Gold Discoveries upon Commerce 
— Position of Great Britain, and First Effects on it of the Gold Discoveries — The 
Golden Age in California and Australia — Life at the Mines. A Retrospect. — 
History and Influence of the Precious Metals down to the Birth of Modem 
Europe — The Silver Age in America — Effects of the Silver Age upon Europe — 
Production of the Precious Metals during the Silver Age (1492-1810) — Effects of 
the Silver Age upon the Value of Money (1492-1800). 

Vol II. — Period of Renewed Scarcity. — Renewed Scarcity of the Precious 
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Britain — The Scarcity lessens — Beginnings of a New Gold Supply — General 
Distrfi'ss before the Gold Discoveries. "Cheap" and "Dear" Money — On 
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Richardson and Watts* Complete Practical Treatise on 
Acids^ Alkalies, and Salts, their Manufacture and Application, 
by Thomas Richardson, Ph.D., F.R.S., &c., and Henry Watts, 
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Tunis, Past and Present, with a Narrative of the French 

Conquest of the Regency, by A. M. Broadley, Correspondent of 

the Times during the War in Tunis, with numerous illustrations 

and maps, 2 vols, post 8vo, cloth (pub 25s), 6s, Blackwood & Sons. 

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before the reader is novel and amusing. ... A standard work on Tunis has 

bpen long required. This deficiency has been admirably supplied by the author." 

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Cervantes — History of t}ie Ingenious Gentleman, Don 
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Dyer {Thomas H., LL.D.) — Imitative Art, its Principles 
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Junior Etching Club — Passages from Modern English 
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Smith {J. Moyr) — Ancient Greek Female Costume, illus- 
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Strutt's Sylva BritannicB et Scotice ; or, Portraits of 
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Walpol^s {Horace) Anecdotes of Painting in England, 
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Warren's {Samuel) Work's — Original and early editions 
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Miscellanies, Critical, Imaginative, and Juridical, con- 
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Nmu and Then ; Through a Glass Darkly, early edition, 
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Ten Thousand a Year,, early edition, with Notes, 3 vols, 
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Arnold's (Cecil) Great Sayings of Shakespeare, a Com- 
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of Allusions, Reflections, Images, Familiar and Descriptive Pas- 
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Alphabetically Arranged and Classified under Appropriate Head- 
ings, one handsome volume of 422 pages, thick 8vo, cloth (pub 
7s 6d), 3s. Bickers. 

Arranged in a manner similar to Southgate's "Many Thoughts of Many 
Minds." This index differs from all other boolis in being much more com- 
prehensive, while care has been taken to follow the most accurate text, and to 
cope, in the best manner possible, with the difficulties of correct classification. 

Bacon {Francis, Lord) — Works, both English and Latin, 

with an Introductory Essay, Biographical and Critical, and 

copious Indices, steel portrait, 2 vols, royal 8vo, cloth (originally 

pub ^2 2s,) I2S, 1879. 

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and of all later ages." — Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire. 

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delighted in ; so that those men who had more than ordinary knowledge in 

human affairs, esteemed him one of the most capable spirits of that age." 

Burnet {Bishop) — History ,pf the Reformation of the 
Church of_Englatid, with numerous Illustrative Notes and copious 
Index, 2 vols, royal 8vo, cloth (pub 20s), los. Reeves & Turner, 
18S0. 
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without doubt, the English Eusebius." — Dr Apthorpe. 

Burnefs History of his Own Time, from the Restoration 
of Charles II. to the Treaty of the Peace of Utrecht, with 
Historical and Biographical Notes, and a copious Index, com- 
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Ss 6d. 

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the stark wickedness that actually gave the nwjnerdum to national actors ; none 
of that cursed Hujneian indifference, so cold, and unnatural, and inhuman," &c. 
— Charles Lamb. 

Dante — The Divina Commedia, translated into English 
Verse by James Ford, A.M., medallion frontispiece, 430 pages, 
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Elder, & Co. 

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cannot refrain from acknowledging the many good qualities of Mr Ford's trans- 
lation, and iiis labour of love will not have been in vain, if he is able to induce 
those who enjoy true poetry to study once more the masterpiece of that literature 
from whence the great founders of English poetry drew so much of their sweet- 
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Dobson ( W. T.) — The Classic Poets, their Lives and their 
Times, with the Epics Epitomised,' 452 pages, crown 8vo, cloth 
(pub 9s), 2s 6d. Smith, Elder, & Co. 
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Dante's Divina Commedia, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, Camoens' Lusiad, Tasso's 

Jerusalem Delivered, Spenser's Fairy Queen, Milton's Paradise Lost, Miltbn's 

Paradise Regained. 

English Literature : A Study of the Prologue and 
Epilogue in English Literature, from Shakespeare to Dryden, by 
G. S. B., crown Svo, cloth (pub 5s), is 6d. Kegan Paul, 1884. 
Will no doubt prove useful to writers undertaking more ambitious researches 

into the wider domains of dramatic or social history. 

Johnson {Doctor) — His Friends and his Critics, by 
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Smith, Elder, & Co. 

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the sphere in which Johnson talked and taught." — Saturday Review. 

Jones' {Rev. Harry) East and West London, being Notes 
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and its snares for sailors, until the reader finds himself at home with all sorts and 
conditions of strange life and folk. ... A better antidote to recent gloomy 
forebodings of our national decadence can hardly be found." — Athenceum. 

Kaye {John William, F.R.S., author of " History of the 
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Selkirk (J. B.) — Ethics and ^Esthetics of Modern Poetry, 
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Sketches from Shady Places, being Sketches from the 
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Nairne's (Baroness) Life and Songs, with a 

Memoir, and Poems of Caroline Oliphant the Younger, edited 
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8vo, cloth (pub 5s) Griffin 036 

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Perthshire— Woods, Forests, and Estates of 

Perthshire, with Sketches of the Principal Families of the 
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Duncan (John, Scotch Weaver and Botanist) 

— Life of, with Sketches of his Friends and Notices of the 

[Times, by Wm. Jolly, F.R.S.E,, H.M. Inspector of Schools, 
etched portrait, crown 8vo, cloth (pub gs) Kegan Paul 4 

"We must refer the reader to the book itself for the many quaint traits of 
character, and the minute personal descriptions, which, taken together, seem to 
give a life-like presentation of this humble philosopher. . . . The many inci- 
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%irit de corps, and his wanderings about the country, either in the performance 
Bf his work or, wHen that was slack, taking a;hand at the harvest, form an interest- 
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miends and acquaintance." — Aihenteuin. 

pcots (Ancient)— An Examination of the An- 

I cient History of Ireland and Iceland, in so far as it concerns 

the Origin of the Scots ; Ireland not the Hibernia of the 

Ancients ; Interpolations in Bede's Ecclesiastical History and 

. other Ancient Annals affecting the Early History of Scotland 

" and Ireland — the three Essays in one volume, crown 8vo, cloth 

(pub 4s) ■ Edinburgh, 1883 010 

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;^ early History of Ireland and Iceland, in order to ascertain which has the better 
Idaim to be considered the original country of the Scots. In the second and 
fithird an attempt is made to show that Iceland was the ancient Hibernia, and 
Ihe^ country from which the Scots came to Scotland ; and further, contain a 
iteview of tile evidence furnished by the niore genuine of the early British Annals 
against the idea that Ireland was the ancient Scoti'u 

Magic and' Astrology— Grant (James)— The 

Mysteries of all Nations : Rise and Progress of Superstition, 
Laws against and Trials of Witches, Ancient and Modern 
Delusions, together with Strange Customs, Fables, and Tales 
relating to Mythology, Miracles, Poets, and Superstition, 
Demonology, Magic and Astrology,' Trials by Ordeal, Super- 
stition in the Nineteenth Century, &c., i thick vol, 8vo, cloth 
(pub izs 6d) 1880 026 

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A Story of the Shetland Isles, 

Saxby {Jessie M., author of " Daala-Mist," 6^^:.) — Hock- 
Bound, a Story of the Shetland Isles, second edition, revised, 
crown 8vo, cloth (pub 2s), 6d. Edinburgh, 1877. 
"The- life I have tried to depict is the life I remember twenty years ago, 

when the islands were far behind the rest of Britain in all that goes to make up 

modern civilisation." — Extract from Preface. 

Burn (R. Scott) — The Practical Directory for the Im- 
provement of La?tded Property, Rural and Suburban, and the 
Economic Cultivation of its Farms (the most valuable work on 
the subject), plates and woodcuts, 2 vols, 4to, cloth (pub £■}, 3s), 
iSs, Paterson. 

Burnefs Treatise on Painting, illustrated by jjo Etchings 
from celebrated pictures of the Italian, Venetian, Flemish, Dutch, 
and English Schools, also woodcuts, thick 4to, half morocco, gilt 
top (pub £/^ los), £2 2s. 

The Costumes . of all Nations, Ancient and Modern, 
exhibiting the Dresses and Habits of all Classes, Male and Female, 
from the Earliest Historical Records to the Nineteenth Century, 
by Albert Kretschmer and Dr Rohrbach, 104 coloured plates 
displaying nearly 2000 full-length figures, complete in one hand- 
some volume, 4to, half morocco (pub £/^ 4s), 45s, Sotheran. 

Dryden's Dramatic Works, Library Edition, with Notes 
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Lessing's {DrJ.) Ancient Oriental Carpet Patterns, after 
Pictures and Originals of the 15th and l6th Centuries, 35 plates 
(size 20 X 14 in.), beautifully coloured after the originals, I vol, 
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The most beautiful Work on the " Stately Hom^s of England.'" 
Nash's Mansions of England in the Olden Time, 104 
Lithographic Views faithfully reproduced from the originals, with 
new and complete history of each Mansion, by Anderson, 4 vols 
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Sotheran. 

Richardson's {Samuel) Works, Library Edition, with 
Biographical Criticism by Leslie Stephen, portrait, 12 vols, 8vo, 
cloth extra, impression strictly limited to 750 copies (pub £6 6s), 
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